Stephen Mead – Five Poems


My Hand

Is this pen &
A million other quills
From a still living bird.
My hand is yours
Wiping sweat from your face
& finding some trace to form.
It is resolved now.
It is patient
& the night blooms
With that light
Of quiet faith
& hunger.

Solar Plexus

Behind the stomach,
near Vena Cava,
a tree-line of veins
form a cavern
hot with deep peace
in each beat of blood
breathed as a climbing
to some sure mountaintop
with Cat Owls to release,
every one of them a Wish
over pine glades into the sky,
sun-tangerine, kite-still
in highest winds,
& from the scapula
where arms stretch out
certainly there are wings
that shall reach, sense by sense,
their destiny of time.

(Thanks to Amy Tan)

Feeling Earth

Feet first, centered shoeless,
grounding the current—–
upward this current moves,
hands in a sphere arching
apart with that air
cupped as the force
of a Norse God,
energy a flame
pouring from eyes, berry-bright,
the mouth of chi unobstructed
for the transparencies coming in,
going out,
respiration a universe
to sense the seconds of
in love with the loving
unconditionally itself
through the brilliant roots,
the healing core.


Faith in the hand & the hand
Grasps planting, plucking stems
Straight from air…

Leaves, leaves to arrange,
The rootlessness hovering,
Alive that green fire
With topaz in the center,
That yellow bead gleaming…

Harvest potential,
Harvest, the promise of…
On such we bank our dreams &
From this life does continue
To spill fields before the blue,

The horizons alive.

War Chapters

This book is very old, a slim yellowed
Volume, its pages, leaves.
Don’t mark passages by turning
Corners over. They are too brittle.
They break off. Don’t go too fast.
Whole sections fall away.

What lamps for a hand in such
Seasoned parchment!
Here, an encampment,
Here a town. Here,
Woods. Here,
Echoes between pontoons feigning sleep.

Also: a terrible blankness,
Kind faces set on issues, on sides.
Also: a dialogue silenced,
The speaker recognizing who
Was listening & isn’t there any longer.

Then a shriek wells.
Then these are bells too
Sounding out as ripples circling where a stone
Has been dropped & continues to fall…

So do we fall.
So do we well,
Eyes dropping off ink
Sliding from the open book & onto space,
The in-common horizon, the ground whose peace
Can’t be read too well or enough.

& this is a love story
Centuries of countries keep writing,

Keep handing on.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but I nevertheless hope that lens is one of insight. I hope it is an eye opening from deep within and really has nothing to do with appearances. We all know about the capricious arbiters of fashion and the esthetic standards set for the human form. At one time the reubensque figure was thought ideal and even the Villendorf Venus is still considered a Goddess. Other cultures admire stretched necks, the head held up by band after band until muscles themselves can no longer do the job. Consider also the challenge of lip plates and the percussive make-out sessions they might entail. There is a tribal, societal conditioning which elevates body modification to an art form some may see as sublime, others as ridiculous. From one generation to the next, do we apply the same elements of style to the myriad varieties of creative expression or, by now, given the post-modern, the abstract, the experimental and plastic, have we bypassed all the rules?

In my own writing and art I would like to think this has become the case; that I might write/paint of a devastation whose very truth is powerfully beautiful, that the recognition, though hard to digest, still strikes a chord for the reader or viewer. To do this is not a matter of shock value or to get attention. The root of the matter always has to come from a place of empathy for if a person is outraged by an atrocity it comes from the ability of putting one’s spirit in another’s shoes. Having just written the preceding I find it beautiful when I can still turn my attention/inspiration elsewhere, be free to share and celebrate what is bliss in the world, or what is gentleness; what is itself so much according to the nature of its essence as to release us, remind us of, as, Anne Sexton wrote, the birds making sense of air.


A resident of NY, Stephen Mead is a published artist, writer, maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. His latest P.O.D. Amazon release is an art-text hybrid, According to the Order of Nature (We too are Cosmos Made), a work which takes to task the words which have been used against LGBT folks from time immemorial. In 2014 he began a webpage to gather links of his poetry being published in such zines as Great Works, Unlikely Stories, Quill & Parchment, etc., in one place: